Australian graphite plays have the foot to the floor
The Australian graphite sector is not letting the grass grow under its feet. This year should see the Uley mine in South Australian reopen, but the explorers are moving fast to catch up. So here’s a round-up of the latest news.
Triton Minerals (ASX:TON) has announced high grade hits from its first two drill holes at the Nicanda Hill prospect in Mozambique, part of the company’s large Balama North graphite project. Down-hole intersections included 14.7 metres at 18.7% weighted average graphite carbon (WAGC), 40 metres at 14.2%, and 12.3 metres at 12.3%. The company says these results confirm multiple zones of high grade graphitic material over significant widths. In one hole, the first zone was intersected at a depth of just 3.3 metres below surface, with the next zone beginning from 88.1 metres below surface. The other hole hit its first zone at 19.3 metres, which is very shallow depth. The company says in the first zone beginning at 3.3m, there was a 1 metre section grading at a high 28.6% WAGC. Triton managing director Brad Boyle said these drill results followed on previously announced rock chip samples.
One interesting aside: Triton’s project adjoins that of fellow graphite explorer Syrah Resources (SYR). Triton’s market capitalisation is A$24 million and Syrah’s is A$453 million.
Also in Africa, Sovereign Metals (ASX:SVM) reports that metallurgical test work has confirmed its Duwi prospect (part of its Central Malawi graphite project) samples have shown that commercial grades of flake can be produced with what the company describes as “significantly larger than usual” of material in the Extra Large and Large Flake categories. In fact, one third of the flake from Duwi falls into one of those two categories.
And Discovery Africa (ASX:DAF), which already controls the Area 51 graphite project in Namibia — at which drilling has begun — has now taken an option over a graphite target in Uganda.
From Sweden, Talga Resources (ASX:TLG) has sent samples from its Nunasvaara project to the University of Adelaide in South Australia for testing as to the suitability of the graphite for production of graphene. Managing director Mark Thompson says preliminary metallurgical work suggested that the Nunasvaara’s graphite might differ substantially from most other deposits.
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And in Sri Lanka, MRL Corporation (ASX:MRF) — formerly Mongolian Resources Ltd — has been granted the initial 16 graphite licences (part of its applications covering 367.1 square kilometres). All applications lie in proven graphite provinces with workings dating back more than 70 years. The company said the Pujapitiya project area, where the initial claims have been secured, is south of the government owned Kahatagaha/Kolongaha mining operations, and hosts prolific remnant graphite at surface with numerous abandoned underground shafts. “During the preliminary site visits several thin graphite veins were visible in the roadway and hillside cuttings, with minor veining visible in the mine shaft entrance“, it said.
Back home, Buxton Resources (ASX:BUX) reported grades up to 23.4% total (over 32 metres in this case) graphitic material from its Yalbra project in Western Australia. Another hole hit 31 metres at 22.5% TGC. Buxton says its believes these to be the highest graphite drill results reported in Australia. Significant portions of medium and coarse flake graphite occur in the samples from the five drill holes reported so far.
Also in Western Australia, Lamboo Resources (ASX:LMB) has increased the resource at its McIntosh Target 1. Target 1 has been upgraded to a JORC report of 7.135 million tonnes in the inferred and indicated categories, grading at 4.73% TGC for 337,700 contained tonnes. This resource covers only 20% of the target area. Lamboo has sent a 25 tonne bulk sample for testing at the China Sciences Hengda Graphite Company.
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